In addition to having a great time and bonding with your Samoyed, weight pulling is also a fantastic way to promote and showcase the working heritage of the breed. This sport, which has been around for many years, has grown tremendously in recent years. Aside from to the annual weight pull event hosted by the Samoyed Club of America (SCA), there are also several other organizations such as the International Weight Pulling Association (IWPA), the Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA), and more recently, the United Kennel Club (UKC), all of whom welcome Samoyeds to participate in their sanctioned weight pull events. An additional benefit to participating in weight pulls with any of the above named organizations is this: Participation at these pulls is recognized by SCA and you can earn points toward your Working Titles.
Not only are there several organizations to choose from, but there are also different types of surfaces to pull on, each with their own set of unique challenges for you and your Samoyed to enjoy. While most organizations offer wheel and snow pulls, UKC also offers a third type of surface known as rail pulls. Although railed pulls are similar to many of the AMCA wheeled pulls, with respect to the fact that the cart is permitted to ride upon a different surface than that which the dog is pulling on; please note, that you will not be permitted to earn working points since SCA does not recognize railed pulls. Many Samoyed owners need only to take their beloved dog for a walk before quickly realizing that Samoyeds do love to pull.
While some owners may fear that by teaching or encouraging their dog to pull they will create “bad habits,” let me assure you, nothing could be farther from the truth! By giving your Samoyed an outlet, such as a proper time and place when he is permitted to pull, he or she can quickly learn when pulling is appropriate and when it is not.
While some owners may fear weight pulling will cause injuries to their beloved Samoyed, rest assured, the safety of the dog is always of paramount concern. The rules and regulations of the sport were written first and foremost, to ensure the safety of the dog while affording the best possible conditions for the dogs to compete under.
Every dog that is structurally and mentally sound can reap great benefits from the sport of weight pulling. Physically, weight pulling not only encourages muscular development, but also increases bone density, ligament and tendon strength, as well as cardiovascular strength. While weight pulling may appear to be limited to a display of physical strength, it is every bit as much of a workout with respect to mental conditioning of the dog as well. Mentally, weight pulling challenges the dog’s ability to maintain and sustain focused attention, in order to complete the task at hand.
The only equipment you will need to participate in weight pull is a good quality weight pulling harness; a sledding harness or walking harness is not a suitable substitution! Weight pull harnesses are designed for the comfort and safety of the dog. These harnesses are significantly heavier in substance than a typical sledding harness and it will also have a spreader bar in the back to disperse the weight more evenly. A good harness-a good dog, and you’re off to a good start in the wonderful world of weight pull!
-By Deb Pruznick
Weight pull rules and forms
Carol Dodds, Virgina Beach, VA – http://www.harnessesbycarol.com/
Melissa Kehler, AlaskanDreamMals@aol.com, (610) 562-5347, PO Box 37, Port Clinton, PA 19549
Todd Tripp, Ohio http://www.pulldoggies.com